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One year after terror attacks on US, UN aviation agency predicts air traffic rebound

One year after terror attacks on US, UN aviation agency predicts air traffic rebound

One year after terrorists used airplanes as weapons of mass destruction against the United States, total passenger traffic on the world's airlines has stabilized and will likely rebound next year, according to the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

By 2004, passenger traffic should see "robust growth," and, if consumer confidence is maintained, global increases can be expected to proceed at a rate of 5 per cent each year, the Montreal-based agency said, attributing this trend largely to overall improvements in the world economy.

The 11 September attacks last year triggered a steep traffic decline amid sharply rising costs. Preliminary ICAO estimates show the world's scheduled airlines collectively lost some $12 billion. The effects of these losses reverberated across other industries, including trade, tourism and international business.

Over the past year, the world aviation community has initiated a wide range of safety and security measures. Through ICAO, States have adopted new measures, such as improved security around the cockpit area, including reinforced cockpit doors. In addition, the agency has launched a Plan of Action for Strengthening Aviation Security which features new security audits for all ICAO contracting States.

Agency President Assad Kotaite hailed the new measures for restoring consumer confidence, but cautioned that the industry warranted continued attention. "Global air transport is a driver of economic development, a catalyst for business and tourism, and a vehicle for social and cultural development worldwide," he said. "We must provide a climate in which the industry can assure its ongoing vitality while providing the citizens of the world with the safest and most efficient civil aviation system possible."